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Robert Abrams
Break Dance
Hip hop
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Midsummer Night Swing after-party at Quo - Hustle and Break Dance side by side

by Robert Abrams
July 7, 2006
511 West 28th Street
New York, NY 10018
Talia Castro-Pozo and Jules Helm of Stepping Out Studios hosted a Midsummer Night Swing after party at Quo. Quo is a "normal" club where they mostly play really fast club music (house, hip hop, what ever 䴋 tonight was a "Tunnel" reunion, so the music was a 90s throwback version of the above). I got there around 11 pm and the floor was mostly open. I got in one multi-song hustle/cha-cha/what ever with a woman who I had seen dancing in partnership with someone else, so I knew she was from my own planet. The music tended to be seriously over-amplified, but after a while you get used to it the way you get used to the roar of the subway. If you can cut through the reverb, you can usually find a structured rhythm conducive to a slightly loose hustle/cha-cha/samba, so long as you can keep up with the fast tempos. By midnight, the club started to fill up. While a large portion of the crowd was just bopping, there was a core group of about ten people, mostly if not exclusively guys, who formed a jam circle into which one guy would enter in turn and break dance, showing off. I don't normally associate "normal" clubs with serious dance talent. (Admittedly I go to these places very rarely.) However, Quo proved that you can find serious dance talent in such a place. The guys in the jam circle were on rhythm. They were expressing the music. They showed off moves, such as a slow arcing suspension with one hand planted on the ground, that require more than a dollup of strength to pull off. A fast arc can be just a flashy gimmick, but a slow arc is art. Some of the moves got a little repetitive after a while, but if you can stand on your hands and scissor your legs upside down in time to the music, I think you are entitled to a little repetition. There was one guy whose preparation steps sometimes looked a little like capoeira and sometimes looked like an Irish jig. I thought someone from our group should have broken into the circle and showed off a little Cha-cha just to mix things up, but I don't know the private codes of this planet, so I didn't and no one else did either.

Usually a dancer's equipment consists of special shoes. One guy was wearing a special helmet so he could spin twenty times in a row on his head. Very impressive to be sure, but the helmet could have used some glitter.

For a while there were four women dancing on the bar. They must have been employees of the club since they were all wearing matching short pants and attractive if overdone oriental inspired halter tops. They were mostly gyrating, but in a good way.

The bottom line is that while the music at these clubs is not intended for formal partner dance, you can pull it off if you bring your own partner and are willing to be a fish out of water.

Drink prices were fairly reasonable by New York City standards ($7 for a beer). Quo has a mandatory bag check, but the price is only $3 per bag. If I was feeling ornery about dancing hustle/cha-cha/samba out of their normal context and could find a partner to drag along, I might very well go back to Quo.
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